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Building my own LEGO blacksmith

(Written by Sarah)

In my last blog, I talked about how I was going to challenge myself by building with pieces from 2 Blacksmith Attack #6918icon sets, 1 Captain’s Cabin #4191 and some pieces from an Outpost Attack #7948 draft. Almost immediately after writing the blog, I sorted the pieces. But that was it. I put off actually sitting down and building. I was still afraid – afraid of failing. 🙁

A week later, we met up with our LEGO Club to plan the train layout for the NMRA 2011 National Train Show. Will and I took several of our MOCs to create a little medieval section among the predominately city layout. When we laid it all out, we realized that we needed another MOC to fill up some empty space.

So off I went to build my own blacksmith. First, I found a drawing of a blacksmith and left it open on my laptop on the table as I built.

I also wrote a small list of aspects that I wanted in my blacksmith:

  • Anvil
  • Forge
  • Bench
  • Table
  • Trough
  • Display for weapons

Then I sat down, spread out my tubs in front of me and… immediately hesitated. I have the picture, but I where do I start building? After a moment, I hit upon the idea to open the building instructions for the Blacksmith Attack.

And that was my biggest mistake. The rest of the build flowed easily enough, but it was because I was looking at what LEGO built and modifying it. In the end, I had something completed, but I wasn’t happy with it. 😐

I almost gave up, but hesitantly I asked Will to sit down with me to give me some advice. Almost immediately, we abandoned using just the limited pieces and dug into our own collection including the extra copy of the Mill Village Raid we had picked up recently.

Let me just say that being married to another AFOL has its ups and downs. It’s great to have someone to share the hobby with. However, there are downsides like when you butt heads. Or it may just be that I’m not a good student. Thankfully, Will is a very patient man. 😀

The first challenge was the back wall. I had made it all out of log-bricks and the light-gray arch. He gave me advice to break it up with plates and also to use larger plates to stabilize the wall. While he advised me, I picked out what I wanted and built it.

The anvil design is the same as from the Blacksmith Attackicon, but it is such a perfect design that I didn’t mind using it. As for the forge, I did a simple circle of black with a single flame. I knew how I wanted the chimney-flute to look, but again wasn’t exactly sure how to do it so Will gave me some advice.

I did pretty much the rest of the designing and decorating except that Will made the two decorative pieces at the top of the front two pillars and he made the rooftop. I had done the flat light-tan roof, but it looked incomplete. So Will added some height it with his build. It looks better, but it’s certainly nothing I would have ever thought to do or figured out how to do.

To finish accessorizing, I stuck with my modified weapons-rack, but Will devised a different display based on the hinge-sign display that was in the Diagon Alley set.

At this point, I looked through my list of desired LEGO elements and realized we hadn’t done a trough. Rather than building something out of LEGO elements, I grabbed the big half-barrel. I wasn’t sure how to do water, Will suggested filling it with 1X1 round plates in trans-light-blue.

Last but not least, the piece I’m the most proud of – a chicken cage. I designed this almost by myself. I just didn’t quite have enough height to get the top plate on, so Will suggested some plates.

All in all, I’m very proud of what we built. I felt a little disappointed that I hadn’t been able to make it on my own, but collaboration goes a long way to make something better than if built by just one person.

And that’s what I need to remember; that I am important when Will builds a MOC and hands it over to me to detail and decorate. If I didn’t do that last step, it wouldn’t ever be a finished MOC.

My skills are important and they are slowly expanding. I’ve learned some new things from this build and, hopefully, I’ll be able to use them in the next build – maybe without as much advice from Will. 😉

So now a few questions, dear readers! Have you ever struggled with a build and then gotten advice from someone that really made the difference? Have you ever built a MOC with someone else? Did you find it challenging to work together?

Please post your responses in the comment section below. I’d love to hear other peoples’ stories about collaborative building! 🙂

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • BrickBox June 23, 2011, 9:39 PM

    I really like the display you guys had at the train show! What is the bigger building behind the well?
    Your blacksmith is great! I actually like both the first and the second version! 😉

    • Sarah June 28, 2011, 6:06 PM

      This is just a pre-setup photo. The train show hasn’t happened yet. We’re finalizing our layout now.

      But to answer your question, the large building behind the well is the Stables. My husband Will made most of that out of extra pieces we had from the Elven Tree Shrine.

      The other buildings are the Cooper (small white & brown building on the left) and the Jeweler’s Shop (blue & black roofed building on the right). A cooper is someone who makes barrels.

      Thanks for the compliments! I’m glad you liked both versions. I just wanted to do something more of my own design rather than modify what LEGO had built. But both are valid ways to build.

  • Hayato June 25, 2011, 10:14 PM

    I build with my 3 boys. I guess there is not as much head butting when you work with your own kids. They do plenty of head butting between each other though! But it all works out by giving the boys different tasks while building. They are very creative and come up with stuff I would have never thought about. All in all, colleborative building is quite fun!

    • Sarah June 28, 2011, 6:08 PM

      I think it has to do with equals knowing how to collaborate and share. It’s easy for you to build with your boys because you’re the authority figure, but between themselves, they don’t have as clear of a separation. It’s just like me and my husband, we’re equals in most things, though I certainly bow down to his superior LEGO building skills. 🙂

      Anyway, I’m glad to hear that collaborating works well for you and your boys. It’s very rewarding.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Tony June 26, 2011, 10:39 AM

    Nice layout! I guess you just have to find your own style. Some people prefer the social aspect of building with legos, kind of like putting a puzzle together with family and friends. For others lego is a great way to relax after a long and hard day, and it is almost like a quiet meditation to put something together. So I guess it just depends on what you prefer.

    • Sarah June 28, 2011, 6:10 PM

      Thanks Tony! Glad you like it.

      It is hard to find your own style when there are so many examples out there. It’s easy to copy someone, but hard to make your own way.

      And it really does depend on what you want out of LEGO. Like you said, some are more into the social aspects while others prefer to do it alone as a way to relax.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • admin June 26, 2011, 8:40 PM

    Nice post, Sarah! 🙂
    And to answer your question; my biggest helper in MOC-building is my hubby. He is an NLP (non-lego-person), but he has excellent taste for design and color. He can’t help me build, but he frequently helps me out with questions regarding the color, size and shape of my MOCs.
    I also get lots of ideas by checking out others’ MOCs on various LEGO forums and picture-sharing sites.
    Other that that, I guess I have been traumatized with little brothers and sisters raiding my LEGO, so now I rather build by myself. 😉

    • Sarah June 28, 2011, 6:12 PM

      It’s great to hear that your husband helps out with building by giving advice. It’s always good to get a second opinion about things.

      I also look at what other people make to inspire me. There’s so much creativity out there!

      Ah, I never had anyone to play with when I was a kid so I built all on my own. Which may explain why I have such difficulties taking advice form Will even though I know I need it. 😉

  • K August 2, 2013, 6:17 PM

    Keep it up! you Will (pun intended) get better at it!

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